Even as the power of the Israeli/Jewish lobby is at its zenith in the US, and the power of Israel in the Middle East is also at its peak....the actual state of American Jewry is far different as these statistics bear out:
AMERICAN JEWRY NEEDS A BOOST
Arutz-7 - Israel - 12 Sept 2003
The long-awaited National Jewish Population Survey, officially released this week, shows that American Jewry continues to fall victim to intermarriage and assimilation - but that day school and yeshiva enrollments are growing dramatically.
The survey, conducted from August 2000 to August 2001, was completed last year, but doubts about missing and incomplete data led to an outside review - which has now confirmed the findings as reliable. Some of the findings:
* American Jewish population dropped from 5.5 million in 1990 to 5.2 million, and its median age rose to 42 from 37; the median for all Americans is 35. The survey included people who either said they were Jewish, or who had at least one Jewish parent or a Jewish upbringing and had not converted to another monotheistic religion.
* The number of Jews who marry non-Jews rose slightly in the last decade. Ten years ago, it was found that 52% of American Jews in the 1980's had married outside the faith. However, the current report states that that number included people who said they were not raised as Jews. The revised statistics show a growing intermarriage rate of 38-43% in the 1980's, no change in the early 90's, and an increase to 47% by 2001. The total proportion of Jewish adults now intermarried is 31%.
* Two-thirds of the children of interfaith couples are not being raised as Jews.
* A record-high 29% of Jewish children attend full-time Jewish day schools or yeshivas, while enrollment fell in the synagogue Sunday schools and in afternoon Hebrew schools that provided previous generations with religious training. "In short," the study concludes, "over the last two decades, day school and yeshiva enrollments have grown dramatically, largely at the expense of supplementary Jewish schooling."
* American Jews have a lower birthrate than the rest of Americans.
* Of the 46% of Jewish adults who belong to synagogues, 39% are affiliated with the Reform movement, 33% are Conservative, and 21% are Orthodox.
Stephen H. Hoffman, president and chief executive of United Jewish Communities, which sponsored the $6 million survey, said, "There are positive signs that we are making some inroads [in fighting assimilation], but we have our work cut out for us."
The Orthodox Union has prepared a five-part response to the Jewish Population Survey. Emphasizing Jewish education, outreach, and the strengthening of the Jewish family, the program includes these elements:
Jewish Education programs such as day schools, camps, trips to Israel, and NCSY programs;
Strengthening of Synagogues;
Strengthening and Encouraging the Jewish Family, including programs to help singles marry, help families flourish and cope with their challenges, positive parenting, and healthy marriages;
Zale Newman of Toronto, recently hired to be the new National Director of NCSY, says he intends to build "an NCSY for the MTV generation." OU leaders say that the intermarriage rate of involved NCSY members is close to zero.